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Last Updated: Friday November 16 2007 06:10 GMT

Robot roaches fool the real thing

Some of the roaches with their robotic friends

Robotic cockroaches can make the real creepy critters change the way they behave, scientists have found.

Experts studied the bugs to find out things like where they like to hide and then made robotic roaches to join them to see if they could mix it all up!

They wanted to know if the real roaches would accept the robots and let them change their behaviour - and they did.

Cockroaches like dark places, but the robots were programmed to go to lighter shelters and the real roaches followed!

The roach robots looked nothing like the real bugs, but they fooled their new friends by being coated with stuff that made them smell the same.

Now scientists reckon their results suggest it may be possible to use technology to change animal behaviour.

Jose Halloy said: I don't think people are going to use robots to chase cockroaches out of their house.

"We're just trying to understand how group-leading animals make decisions."

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